Umno mem­bers can join Red Shirts protest

> Par­tic­i­pa­tion solely mem­bers’ de­ci­sion, not party’s: An­nuar


KUALA LUMPUR: Umno will not stop its mem­bers from tak­ing to the streets to par­tic­i­pate in the Red Shirt group’s ac­tiv­i­ties on Satur­day.

Party in­for­ma­tion chief Tan Sri An­nuar Musa said the de­ci­sion by Umno mem­bers to join the Red Shirts is solely per­sonal and they are not rep­re­sent­ing the party.

He, how­ever, re­minded all par­ties concerned that the rally and protest have been de­clared il­le­gal by the po­lice and thus those who par­tic­i­pate must bear the con­se­quences.

“We are not stop­ping them. Let’s be frank. Most Umno mem­bers are not happy with Ber­sih and some of course want to join the crowd and Baju Merah,” he said.

“That is strictly per­sonal. At the party level, we have not made any de­ci­sion on the mat­ter. We will not stop any­one from par­tic­i­pat­ing,” he told re­porters at Par­lia­ment.

The Red Shirts, led by Umno Sun­gai Be­sar di­vi­sion chief Datuk Seri Ja­mal Yunos, has pledged to bring its mem­bers into the city to counter the mas­sive Ber­sih 5 rally this week­end. There had been pre­vi­ous clashes be­tween the two groups which had led to sup­port­ers sus­tain­ing in­juries.

When pressed fur­ther if Umno would take ac­tion against mem­bers par­tic­i­pat­ing in the rally, An­nuar said the party has no ef­fec­tive means to stop them.

“Tell me how Umno can stop them if the mem­bers want to go. Even the po­lice can’t stop the peo­ple and you ex­pect Umno or its in­for­ma­tion chief to stop them from go­ing.”

Mean­while, the Malaysian Bar urged the gov­ern­ment, po­lice and City Hall to co­op­er­ate with Ber­sih 2.0 to fa­cil­i­tate the gath­er­ing.

“There is no re­quire­ment of li­cens­ing by the po­lice for an as­sem­bly. Thus, the po­lice have no power un­der the Peace­ful As­sem­bly Act (PAA) to pro­hibit a rally. Rather, the po­lice must re­spect, pro­tect and fa­cil­i­tate the ex­er­cise of the con­sti­tu­tion­ally guar­an­teed right to as­sem­ble peace­ably and with­out arms, which is a duty im­posed by law on the po­lice,” Malaysian Bar vice-pres­i­dent Ge­orge Varugh­ese said in a state­ment yes­ter­day.

He also urged the po­lice to in­voke Sec­tion 18 of the PAA on counter- as­sem­bly, and give the Red Shirts an al­ter­na­tive for the counter as­sem­bly to be or­gan­ised at an­other time, date or place. “This will avoid con­flict be­tween the par­tic­i­pants of the Ber­sih 5 as­sem­bly and the Red Shirts. We urge the po­lice to take mea­sures to en­sure both assem­blies take place on sep­a­rate dates or in sep­a­rate places, peace­fully and with min­i­mal in­tru­sion and dis­rup­tion, while main­tain­ing public or­der and pro­tect­ing the safety of all par­tic­i­pants,” he said.

– Tan Sri An­nuar Musa

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